There's probably no other sport more dependent on mother nature than skiing. For weeks now, the Pacific Northwest has been sitting under a high pressure ridge, which has been steering storms well to the north. Here in southern Oregon, we're about to close what will likely be the driest year on record (Medford has received 8.99 inches of precipitation in 2013, less than half the annual average of 18.05 inches). Area snowpack is near all-time lows.
While we wait for winter (and precipitation), we go where the snow is. Crater Lake is the only place within a couple hours that we know has skiable snow, so David, Lucy, and I made our way back to Applegate Peak the Sunday before Christmas. What we found were some very challenging conditions, including a half-inch, breakable rain crust, making for a dicey descent. With every turn, we broke through the crust into the softer snow below. Before long, we had skinned up for the descent, just to help us manage our speed on the crust (since turning wasn't really an option).
Despite the challenging conditions, it was still Crater Lake. Pics below:
|David and Lucy on Rim Drive|
|Crossing the meadows toward Applegate Peak|
|Lucy crossing the meadows|
|Mount Scott at top right, Dutton Cliffs below, and Phantom Ship poking out of the lake|
|Mount Thielsen to the north|
|Applegate Peak summit|
|Phantom Ship Island, despite it's small appearance, is 500 feet long and rises 170 feet above the lake|
|Mount McLoughlin above the inversion fog|
|Lucy gearing up for the descent|
|Sunset at Crater Lake|